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Making All-Natural Perfumes

~ by Lori Nova Endres ~


Atelier Perfumes / Mandy Aftel. Located in Berkeley, CA. Mandy pretty much kick started the current natural
perfume movement. I took a class from her at Esalen. She authored multiple books on perfumery, created a
fun Natural Perfume Wheel, sells a line of natural perfumes & correspondence courses at:
Essence & Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume by Mandy Aftel. Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, UT. 2001.
Scents & Sensibilities: (A mini-book on Solid Perfumes) by Mandy Aftel. Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, UT. 2005.
Perfumes, Splashes & Colognes: Discovering & Crafting Your Personal Fragrances by Nancy M. Booth.
Story Books, Vermont. 1997.
Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition), by Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young. Churchill Livingstone. 2014.
The Essential Oils Book by Colleen K. Dodt. Storey Books, North Adams, Mass. 1996.
375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols by Jeanne Rose. Frog Ltd., Berkeley, CA. 1999.
500 Formulas for Aromatherapy: Mixing Essential Oils for Every Day Use by Carol Schiller & David Schiller.
Sterling Publishing Co., New York, NY. 1994.
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville & Mindy Green. The Crossing Press,
Berkeley, CA. 1995.
Complete Aromatherapy Handbook: Essential Oils for Radiant Health by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi. Sterling
Publishing Co. New York, NY. 1990.
Natural Perfumes: Simple Aromatherapy Recipes by Mindy Green. Interweave Press, Loveland, Colorado. 1999.
International Fragrance Association (IFRA) Tons of great information and links about perfumery, including
guidelines for commercial perfumers:

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No part of this handout may be copied or distributed in print or on the web without written permission.
ESSENTIAL OILS: Also called EOs. The essence of plants; the concentrated, fragrant, volatile extracts obtained by
STEAM or HYDRO-DISTILLATION from flowers, grasses, seeds, leaves, roots, barks, fruits, mosses & resins.
EOs oils are the most common ingredients used in beginning natural perfumery, followed closely by Absolutes.
EXPRESSION: Citrus fruit peels are typically squeezed/compressed to collect their fragrant oils. The large quantity
of oil collected using this method makes it economically ideal for citrus. (Note: Citruses can also be steam distilled.)
FRAGRANCE OILS: Also called FOs. Almost always synthetic (NOT natural), a blend of many different AROMA
CHEMICALS, may contain some EOs & sometimes fixed oils or other diluents. Commonly used in commercial
perfumery because they are inexpensive or/and to capture scents that aren’t readily available in nature. You can use
FOs in Perfume Making, but just realize that you can no longer call your creations natural. Be sure to buy cosmetic-
grade or skin-safe oils, which means they are formulated for products that go on the skin in diluted amounts. The
quality of an FO can range from horrible to excellent, & the price, from cheap to expensive. Usually you get what
you pay for, since creating better scents involves more aroma chemicals & expertise.
FIXATIVE: A material used in a perfume to make it last longer. Fixatives may be materials that are relatively longer
lasting than other components in the perfume, or they may have some physical or chemical effect of forming bonds
with the other materials. Most often derived from base notes (mosses, resins) and/or synthetic aroma chemicals.
ACCORD: Perfume accords (or chords) are anywhere from 2 to many perfume notes that are balanced in such a way
that they lose their individual identity to create a completely new, harmonious odor impression.
ALCOHOL: Ethyl Alcohol or Ethanol is the main solvent used as a perfume carrier. This can come from sources
like Grain, Grape, Cane Sugar or Wheat. The higher the proof, the better it dissolves essences (200 proof is max).
ABSOLUTE: (abbreviated: Abs.) The strongest, most concentrated form of perfumery material - usually obtained
through extraction using solvents like hexane. To make an absolute, a concrete is warmed with alcohol, stirred, the
components are dissolve into alcohol, then distilled to remove the alcohol. Absolutes are usually darker in color than
essential oils. They are floral essences at their truest & most concentrated (typically more expensive than EOs). If
you buy a pure absolute, TNS recommends that you dilute it in jojoba or high proof alcohol before blending it.
CONCRETE: A semi-solid, waxy substance obtained by the extraction of essential oils by volatile solvents. It’s what
is left after the solvent has been removed, representing the closest odor duplication of the flower, bark, or leaves.
Concretes can be further concentrated to produce absolutes. If a resinous material has been extracted, it’s called a
resinoid. Concretes & resinoids are very difficult to work with. They work best in a solid perfume.
ATTAR/OTTO: In Arabic, Attar means fragrance or perfume. Traditionally, attars are made from the distilled floral
or other essences in a base of sandalwood oil. Also, the EO extracted from the petals of various types of roses (via
steam distillation) is called “Attar of Roses” or “Rose Otto” (whereas solvent extracted rose oil is “rose absolute”).
ANIMAL-BASED ESSENCES: Ambergris (sperm whale), Castoreum (beaver), Civet (cat), & Musk (deer).
AMBERGRIS: Digestive secretions produced by sperm whales that when aged, have a sweet, earthy/musky odor.
Can be found floating in the sea or on the sand near the coast. In traditional perfumery it was a natural fixative, but
today it’s so rare, Ambergris is almost always duplicated by synthetics.
AMBER: There is no such thing as natural “Amber” that produces a natural amber scent. In natural perfumery, the
term Amber refers to accords developed by blending plant essences, like labdanum or synthetics, and referred to as
“Amber” because they were originally meant to mimic the smell of ambergris (sperm whale secretions).


Glossary of Perfumery:
Now Smell This Blog, Glossary Post:
Another Glossary:

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Fragrance blending borrows terminology from the music world. The terms TOP, MIDDLE and BASE
NOTES are used to define perfume-blending scents (like essential oils and absolutes) based on their
evaporation rates, which also reflect their fragrance. Most essential oils fit nicely into one category, while
others are so COMPLEX that they fit into more than one category, depending on the other oils in the
blend. For example, rose is sometimes categorized as a middle and sometimes as a base note.
TOP (Head) NOTES are the first thing we smell, the perfume’s first impression. They are the most
volatile ingredients & the first to evaporate. Many are familiar from the kitchen spice cabinet (black
pepper, ginger) & include oils pressed from the peels of citrus fruits (orange, lime, etc.). Top notes are
typically thin, runny & clear (except some citruses) & they remain on the skin for 15 to 30 minutes.
MIDDLE (Heart) NOTES are the main theme of the fragrance. Their purpose is to smooth & beautify
base notes, & to bridge the distance between the base & top notes. Blending a small amount of a middle
note will make a top note last longer. Many precious flowers (rose, jasmine) are considered middle notes.
The scent of a middle note unfolds anywhere between a few moments to 2 to 3 hours after application.
BASE (Bottom) NOTES are the foundation, the anchors, or the backbone of a perfume. They are often
called “fixatives” since they are mostly what remain on the skin (the least volatile). Base notes are barks,
balsams, plants & roots, often with a woody or resinous scent. They remain on the skin anywhere from a
few hours to a few days. As a beginner, it’s best to keep them at less than 20% of a blend as you run the
risk of your perfume smelling only of the bases. If you’re more experienced/experimental, go up to 40%.

♬ ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
A WELL-ROUNDED PERFUME should include ALL 3 NOTES: Top, Middle and Base. There are
fragrances that just consist of one note, but half the fun is in blending! Learning about the characteristics
of each type of note will help you develop a perfume that is as unique, complex & interesting as you are!
If you are a beginner, I suggest limiting your blends to 6 oils maximum. If you mix too many scents before
you understand the basics, you might end up with something that smells like trash. On the flip side, if you
mix 20 different oils & love the result, think of how many oils you’ll have to buy (& how costly it will be)
to recreate it! Start cautiously and your blends can grow in complexity as your knowledge base grows.
There are many different opinions (in books, on-line, etc.) as to how much of each note to put in a blend,
so don’t feel confined by any one recommendation.

All my “Suggested Blends” have 24 drops total in each ⅓ oz. (10 ml) perfume.
In an Alcohol Base, try an equal 1:1:1 Ratio = 8 drops top / 8 drops middle / 8 drops base
In an Oil/Jojoba Base, try a 3:2:1 Ratio = 12 drops top / 8 drops middle / 4 drops base
 When creating an ALCOHOL based scent, I suggest you try for equal amounts/ratios (1:1:1) of each
type of note (Top : Middle : Base) - or 8 drops of each - 8 x 3 = 24 total drops).
 When creating, a JOJOBA based scent, it’s recommended to use proportionally more top notes, since
they tend to get weighed down by the heavier molecules of the oil. Try starting with a simple ratio of
3:2:1 (Top : Middle : Base). That means 3 parts top notes, 2 parts middle notes & 1 part base notes. It’s
easiest to convert this to drops and start your blend with: 3 drops top, 2 drops middle, 1 drop base.
That gives you 6 drops, which is one quarter of your total drops (24 divided by 4 is 6). If you like what
you’ve created, just quadruple it. If not, you can adjust before reaching your full 24 drops.

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No part of this handout may be copied or distributed in print or on the web without written permission.
Fragrance blends usually improve with age. It takes at least SEVERAL WEEKS for a blend to develop its
full aroma (especially true for alcohol-based scents). During this time, the individual aromatic compounds
in the blend MERGE into a cohesive unit. The resulting perfume displays an individual character that is
far greater than the sum of its parts (this is also known as synergy).
Normally in a class, I have students put all their essences directly into their final
perfume bottle, one drop at a time. Highly respected perfumer & author Mandy
Aftel recommends starting with the base notes, then adding middles, then the
tops. Once you reach 24 drops, top it off with your base (jojoba or alcohol). At
home, you can put together a blend this same way, but instead of adding it
immediately to alcohol or jojoba, I recommend constructing your blend directly
into a 1-ounce amber bottle with a leak proof phenolic cone lined cap. That
way, the scents can marry for a few weeks FIRST before you decide whether
it’s done & worthy to be made into an actual perfume. Don’t worry if you go
over 24 drops in the amber bottle (often you’ll need 1 – 2 more drops of
something and it will be hard to stay at 24). You can use blotter paper or tester
strips to see if you like it. Once you’re happy with it, take 24 drops from that
bottle & add it to a ⅓ oz. perfume bottle, fill up with alcohol or jojoba, label, & your perfume is done.
Once you get more experience blending essences, feel free to stray from others’ recommendations & fly
without a net! Don’t be discouraged if at first you create blends that you dislike. Experimentation is how
we find what we DO like - so it’s a necessary part of the process. One of my favorite quotes by Mandy is,
“There are no real rules. If a beautiful new smell is created, the path to it is irrelevant.”
To make it affordable, I recommend starting with essences that are relatively inexpensive so your initial
experiments don’t end up costing a fortune. Also, you can buy precious & expensive oils like rose, neroli,
jasmine, etc. diluted in jojoba oil (usually 3-20% of the essence). These are usually called dilutions, like the
3% precious oil dilutions I buy from New Directions Aromatics I use their 3% dilutions in all the recipes
in this handout. If you can afford the real thing, you can make your own dilutions by using 3% of the
essence in 97% clear jojoba oil. When using a dilution, I’ve noted it on my tables & blends. All TNS
recommended companies & additional resources can be found on the last page of this handout.


Here’s what you need to get started. It’s best if all supplies/equipment are used for the sole purpose of
scent blending, as the smell of EOs can permeate (and damage) most materials. As you can see, there isn’t
much needed. Just add to this list about two dozen of your favorite essential oils & you’re ready to go!
Record Book or notebook to keep your formulations/recipes
Coffee Grounds or Wool Scarf for sniffing & cleansing your nose/palate
Droppers – glass, or disposable plastic pipettes (with “ml” marked on side)
Amber Glass Bottles for keeping your concentrated blends
Perfume Tester Strips - these are a necessity when creating new blends
190 or 200 Proof Alcohol or Jojoba to use as a base for your perfumes
Containers/Bottles for your finished products, again glass is preferred
Labels for your finished products, preferably waterproof or vinyl
Clean-up Supplies - paper towels, isopropyl rubbing alcohol, etc.

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No part of this handout may be copied or distributed in print or on the web without written permission.
An excellent thorough & accurate source for a wealth of EO information is the brand new 2014 edition of
the book Essential Oil Safety (2nd Edition), by Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young. You can also visit - Robert’s blog for some excellent reading & information on using EOs.
Essential oils, absolutes & other aromatic essences are highly concentrated and can be beneficial if used
properly, but harmful if used incorrectly or in excess. The following are basic guidelines for using essential
oils safely. If you are in doubt regarding proper use, consult a trained aromatherapy practitioner.

 Read and follow label instructions and warnings.

 Do not ingest essential oils without consulting a qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
 Avoid contact with eyes and mucus membranes. Flush with olive oil in case of contact (NOT water).
 Do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin. There are exceptions to this precaution, such as
Tea Tree Oil or Lavender Oil, but the decision to apply undiluted oils should be made by experienced
aromatherapy users and practitioners.
 Do not use essential oils straight in bathwater. They just float on top and can irritate skin. Water forces
oils deeper into the tissues. For best results, dilute the Essential Oil in your bath products like unscented
body gel, sea salt, or shampoo and then add to the bathwater.
 If you have ANY medical condition or are pregnant or nursing, use oils only under the proper guidance
of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
 People with high blood pressure should not use fennel, hyssop, rosemary & all types of sage oils.
 A skin PATCH TEST should be conducted on a small area to determine skin sensitivity prior to using
an oil for the first time. To do this, place a small amount of the diluted essential oil (never use essential
oils undiluted on the skin) on the inside of your elbow & apply a Band-Aid. Wait 24 hours to see if there
is any reaction. Even if a particular EO is not known to cause irritation, this step should be taken.
 Avoid strong sunlight or sun beds after topically applying essential oils, particularly certain citrus oils,
which can be photosensitive (causes the skin to be more sensitive to the sun).
 It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils for children.
 If you experience redness, itching, swelling, burning or irritation while using EOs, discontinue use.
 Take a periodic break from using essential oils. Use oils for six days and then rest for a day, or use oils
for three weeks and then rest a week.
 Avoid applying essential oils immediately after perspiring or using a sauna.
 Store essential oils away from extreme cold, heat, light, dampness and electromagnetic frequencies.
Amber glass is the best protection
from direct or indirect sunlight.
 Be sure your EOs are tightly closed
with a small amount of head room at
the top. This helps prevent oxidation.
 Keep essential oils away from babies,
children & pets.
 Essential oils are not meant to take the
place of a qualified practitioner.
 Essential Oils are flammable. Don’t
drop EOs on top of burning candles or
place near open flames.

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No part of this handout may be copied or distributed in print or on the web without written permission.
*Odor Intensive Oils: Some oils have a very powerful scent that can easily overwhelm a blend.
Be sure to use a light touch (START WITH ONE DROP) of any oil marked with the * symbol.


*Black Pepper *Litsea Cubeba (aka May Chang) Benzoin (in Alcohol)

*Cardamom Cedarwood, Virginia Peru Balsam (in Alcohol)

*Fresh Ginger *Cinnamon Leaf Vanilla Oleoresin (aka “Brown”)

(doesn’t mix in well)

*Juniper Berry *Clove Bud Vanilla Absolute (aka “Clear”)

(3% in Jojoba)

*Rosewood (aka Bois de Rose) *Nutmeg *Oakmoss Absolute (in Alcohol)

Lavender (Angustifolia Preferred) *Clary Sage Frankincense

*Petitgrain *Geranium Sandalwood

(3% in Jojoba)

Sweet Orange | Bitter Orange Jasmine Sambac Absolute German Chamomile

(3% in Jojoba) (3% in Jojoba)

Lemon Neroli (aka Orange Blossom) *Patchouli

(3% in Jojoba)

Lime Rose Damask Absolute *Vetiver

(3% in Jojoba)

Bergamot *Ylang Ylang

[Tip: Grade essences that you have on a scale of A to F, with A = most favorite, F = least favorite.]

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No part of this handout may be copied or distributed in print or on the web without written permission.
Oils marked with a star symbol above are a 3% dilution in Jojoba
Note: All recipes above contain 24 drops total, for a ⅓ oz. (or 10 ml) perfume bottle


NAME (yellow) (red) (blue)
2 Orange, 2 Lemon
NOVA SCENT 6 Ylang Ylang 8 Vanilla
6 Bergamot
5 Bergamot 5 Jasmine  4 Vanilla
4 Petitgrain 5 Neroli  1 Peru Balsam
3 Clove, 6 Ylang Ylang
FLORAL SPICE 5 Lavender 6 Patchouli
4 Rose 
6 Lemon 4 Patchouli
6 Orange 5 Sandalwood 
4 Cedarwood
GLADY’S BLEND 12 Bergamot 4 Benzoin
4 Jasmine 

WARRIOR None 2 Nutmeg, 4 Jasmine  4 Frankincense

1 Litsea Cubeba, 9 Clary Sage 4 Sandalwood 
5 Lemon 4 Ylang Ylang 5 Oakmoss
4 Lavender 4 Rose  2 Vetiver
6 Orange 1 Clove
SPICY HOLIDAY 9 Vanilla or Benzoin
2 Fresh Ginger 6 Ylang Ylang
4 Orange 3 Geranium, 3 Jasmine 
4 Lavender 7 German Chamomile 
3 Ylang Ylang,

3 WOODS 8 Rosewood 8 Cedarwood 8 Sandalwood 

9 Bergamot, 5 Jasmine  5 Frankincense
3 Black Pepper 2 Nutmeg
4 Bitter Orange, 3 Lavender, 3 Benzoin
MANDY’S BLEND 22 8 Clary Sage
3 Juniper Berry 3 Peru Balsam

MANDY’S BLEND 23 6 Rosewood 4 Cedarwood, 5 Jasmine  3 Oakmoss

4 Ylang Ylang 2 Vetiver

LOVERS PERFUME None 3 Ylang Ylang, 5 Rose  7 Vanilla, 5 Sandalwood 

2 Geranium 2 Frankincense
10 Bitter Orange
CARMEL SPICE 2 Cinnamon Leaf 8 Vanilla, 2 Vetiver
2 Cardamom
8 Sweet Orange
4 Petitgrain 6 Neroli  6 Vanilla

1 Fresh Ginger 2 Neroli  1 Frankincense
7 Lemon 6 Litsea Cubeba 7 Vanilla

[Tip: Grade essences that you make on a scale of A to F, with A = most favorite, F = least favorite.]

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Oil-based scents in a handy roller-ball applicator are easy to make
& wear, perfect for anyone who doesn’t want a heavy scent
(typically oil-based scents are subtler than alcohol-based scents).
Any liquid carrier oil can be used, but I recommend JOJOBA, a
shrub that produces a liquid wax ester (though it’s commonly
referred to as an oil). It has an extremely long shelf life & a
thickness that works well with a roller-ball. Unrefined Jojoba is
yellow in color & has a slight nutty odor, while Refined Jojoba is
colorless & odorless. Refined Jojoba is my #1 choice to use as a
base for perfume oils, followed by Unrefined Jojoba, then
Fractionated Coconut Oil (a light-weight, colorless & odorless carrier oil).
INGREDIENTS: Clear Refined Jojoba & 24 Drops of Your Custom Scent Blend
1. Write it Down! Before starting, get a little notebook or a place to keep detailed records. Start by writing
down each of the notes you think you would like to include in your blend, categorized by notes.
2. Use More Top Notes: When creating a JOJOBA based scent, it’s recommended to use proportionally
more top notes, since they tend to get weighed down by the heavier molecules of the oil, and can tend
to get a bit lost. Some recommended doubling (or even tripling) the ratio of top notes.
3. Consider a 3:2:1 Ratio: If you’re creating a new recipe, try using 3 parts top notes, 2 parts middle notes
& 1 part base notes. It’s easy to convert this to drops & start your blend with: 3 drops top, 2 drops
middle, 1 drop base. That gives you 6 drops, which is ¼ of your total drops (24 ÷ 6 = 4). If you like
what you’ve created, simply quadruple it. If not, you can make adjustments before reaching 24 drops.
4. Add Your Essences. If you’re creating your blend for the first time right in your perfume bottle (like
we do in class at The Nova Studio), start by carefully adding your essential oils, one drop at a time.
Mandy recommends starting with base notes, then adding middle notes, then adding top notes. For
your record keeping, use tally marks (ex. ||| for 3) for # of drops instead of hard numbers, so you
can easily add more drops without scratching out & making an illegible mess in your notebook.
5. Assess: Regardless of how many drops you have in your container, when you are ready to smell it, fill
your container half way with Jojoba, place your clean finger over the opening, gently shake & apply to
a clean spot on your arm. What is it missing? What is too prominent? Adjust as necessary.
6. How Many Drops? Please don’t go over 30 drops (or 1 ml) TOTAL in a ⅓ oz. (or 10 ml) bottle.
That’s about 10% scent (in 90% jojoba). This is a low-medium strength, recommended for less
potential skin irritation and better for keeping costs down. Assuming your blend doesn’t irritate the
skin, at home you could go as high as 30% with the aromatic essences (in an oil-based perfume).
7. Time to Bottle: Once done adding all essences, fill container with Jojoba - just to the base of the
container neck. This will leave a little room for the roller ball to go in without overflowing & making a
mess. Before adding the roller ball, clean rim of the bottle with a napkin & alcohol to make sure it’s
free of oil. Then, snap the roller ball firmly into the bottle. Place the cap on tightly and gently shake.
8. Sample your Perfume: Keep in mind that the essences will need some time to get to “marry” or get to
know one another over the next few days/weeks, so if you aren’t immediately crazy about it, give it
some time. If you still don’t like it after a month, give it to a friend who likes it!
9. Label: First wipe container with a napkin & rubbing alcohol to remove any oil or dirt. With clean
hands, firmly apply your label. If you’re not using a waterproof laser label, you can cover your label
carefully with a piece of clear tape, cut just larger than your actual label on all sides. Press firmly.

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No part of this handout may be copied or distributed in print or on the web without written permission.
INGREDIENTS: Very High (190-200) Proof Alcohol & 24 Drops of Your Custom Scent Blend.
CONSIDERATIONS: Making alcohol-based scents is similar to oil-based scents, with a few differences:
 The CONCENTRATION OF SCENT in an alcohol base is lower than in an oil-based scent. It’s
recommended to not exceed 15-20% maximum aromatic essences if you’re creating a spray perfume.
 The RATIO of TOP/MIDDLE/BASE oils recommended is equal amounts. For example, if you’re
creating an ALCOHOL based scent, try for a 1:1:1 ratio of each type of note (Top:Middle:Base) - or 8
drops of each - 8 x 3 = 24 total drops). If you want the scent to last longer on the skin (have more
staying power), you can increase the proportion of base notes (Aftel recommends 30:30:40, which is
30% Top, 30% Middles, 40% Base). For my 24-drop total, 30% is about 7 drops, & 40 % is about 10
drops (so that would be 7 drops top, 7 drops middle & 10 drops base). You have to be really good
with choosing/blending base notes to do this well; otherwise the base notes can overwhelm the blend.
Take a ⅓ oz. (10 ml) spray bottle & add essences 1 drop at a time. In class, to keep materials fees
reasonable, and avoid potential skin irritation, I ask that students do not go over 24 drops total. I
recommend you start with about half (12) of the total drops you eventually want, then fill the container ¾
full of Alcohol. This way you can stop along the way & test/smell it. Put your clean finger on top of the
opening, gently shake, and then apply to a clean spot on your arm. Wait at least 15 seconds to let the scent
of the alcohol dissipate. Now smell it. Give it a minute & smell it again. What don’t you smell that you
hoped to? What do you smell too much of? Then adjust as you add your remaining 12 drops. Don’t forget
to keep good detailed records (with tally marks)- you’ll want to be able to replicate your masterpiece! When
done, fill the container with alcohol (just to the base of the neck - leave a little room for the sprayer to be
inserted without overflowing). Screw on top, gently shake & enjoy!


Alcohol is an excellent base for perfumes. It’s a solvent that carries the scent to the target area, quickly evaporates, &
leaves only the pure scent behind. It comes in 2 types: DENATURED (with added chemicals to make it taste horrible so
no one drinks it) & UNDENATURED (it’s purer, as it only contains the alcohol in question). Most commercial
perfumers use a Denatured “Perfumer’s Alcohol,” but natural artisan perfumers seem to prefer Undenatured (since the
goal is usually to embrace the natural & avoid synthetics). You’ll also want to pay attention to PROOF. Pure alcohol
(100%) is 200 Proof. The proof is twice the percentage. 100 Proof is 50% alcohol by volume (most of the other 50%
is water). I recommend using 190 or 200 Proof. The higher the proof/percentage, the better it dissolves & therefore
carries the essences. Be aware that high proof alcohol is extremely flammable & undenatured alcohol is considered
a controlled substance, which adds considerable costs when purchasing/shipping. Listed below are several common
types of alcohols. Be sure to store all alcohol away from children, teenagers, sunlight & heaters.
 Ethyl Alcohol: The most common carrier for perfumes, 190 or 200 proof is best. It mixes completely
w/essential oils & absolutes & the higher the proof, the more it will dilute thick resins, balsams & concretes.
 Organic Grain, Grape, Cane & Wheat Alcohol: An interesting variety of undenatured, 190 proof certified
organic alcohols, old by Alchemical Solutions (info on last page of this handout).
 Perfumer’s Alcohol: Difficult to source because not that many people carry it. It typically contains: Specially
Denatured Alcohol (SDA) 40B, Isopropyl Myristate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Bitrex. Body Time
sells a Perfume & Cologne Base (4oz.) that contains SDA alcohol 40B, dipropylene glycol, benzyl benzoate &
fragrance. I list it here because small quantities can be difficult to find locally.
 Vodka/Everclear: Listed in many recipes online & in books, but Vodka is only 80 proof & Everclear is 150
proof. Both are considered unacceptable for making perfumes, simply because the proof is not high enough.

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No part of this handout may be copied or distributed in print or on the web without written permission.
INGREDIENTS: Beeswax, Liquid Carrier Oil and
Your Custom Essential Oil Blend.
Beeswax is the most common wax used to make solid
perfumes, but they could be made with other vegetable-
based waxes such as carnauba, candelilla, or even soy
wax. The wax can be mixed with almost any liquid carrier
oil. I recommend using either jojoba (a liquid wax ester)
OR fractionated coconut oil (a very light & clear
unscented liquid oil), since they both have a very long
shelf life. Jojoba has the longest life, but is more
expensive than other oils.


2.5 oz. Yellow or White BEESWAX
4.6 oz. JOJOBA or Fractionated Coconut Oil
30 Drops of Essences (per ½ ounce container) – that’s approx. 450 drops for the entire batch.

 Digital Scale - I recommend the My Weigh KD-7000 or KD-8000. OPTIONAL: Thermometer
 Approximately 15 half-ounce Containers (the yield of this recipe)
 Indirect Heat: Glass Pyrex that fits inside a Pot that goes on stove, Double Boiler, or Bain-Marie.
 Plastic Transfer Pipettes and/or clean Wood Coffee Stir Sticks to gently mix in the essences.

1. Weigh out your individual ingredients on a scale (preferably digital).
2. Melt the beeswax slowly over medium heat in a double boiler (NEVER on direct heat - it could catch fire).
3. Once melted reduce heat to low & add the jojoba.
4. Wait until all ingredients are “just” melted. Gently stir to combine.
5. Remove from heat and let mixture cool slightly. If it hardens, put back over the heat.
6. I like to individually scent each pot – so I put 30 drops of essences into a ½ oz. container - slowly -
drop by drop (keeping good notes).
7. Carefully pour wax (or use a plastic transfer pipette) into containers, stir carefully, and remove your
stirring implement cleanly without making a mess on the edge. Leave undisturbed to set up/harden.
8. Once the mixture has set and is completely cool, label & enjoy!
Note: Any unused wax that you’re not ready to make a perfume out of can be saved and re-melted
later. Pour into a clean glass jar, cover to keep the dust out & label with date & ingredients.

OTHER NOTES: Solid perfumes (aka cream perfumes or unguents) are made from a combination of
wax, carrier oils & aromatic oils. They tend to be refreshing and light when compared to the standard
spray perfume, and can also be made to be moisturizing & softening to the skin. According to Aftel, solid
perfumes are denser than alcohol-based perfumes, & the experience of spreading it on with your fingers is
earthier than spraying a cologne. They are discreet, as they scent only the wearer & not an entire room.

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I consider this book, by Berkeley based Mandy Aftel, required reading for anyone
interested in natural perfumes. It’s part novel, part recipe book & should be read
by your bedside, not at a desk. I could go on for days about how unique this book
is, but I’ll just say buy it & here are a few helpful & fun fragrance facts:
 Natural perfume samples can be dosed at a concentration of 10%.
That is, in 10 ml of alcohol, you would add 1 ml of perfume essences.
 In Alcohol, she uses an approximate ratio of 30:30:40 - Top to Middle to Base.
 For Jojoba-based perfumes, she likes to double the proportion of Top Notes.
 Rose, jasmine & bergamot blend well with everything!
 Vanilla, bitter orange, lime, tangerine & pink grapefruit go w/almost everything.
 Eucalyptus, tea tree & peppermint have strong medicinal odors that make
them unsuitable for perfumery. They’ll overwhelm nearly all blends.


“Perfume is like love, you can never get enough of it.” –Estee Lauder.
In spite of the fact that author Nancy Booth includes both (natural) Essential Oils &
(synthetic) Fragrance Oils, I really think this is as a great book as a primer to
fragrance crafting. It contains different types of recipes, has fun perfume quizzes, &
refers to popular (before 1997) name brand perfumes. Her recipes often contain a
combination of EOs & FOs. She’ll use EOs when possible, but then list the word
“fragrance oil” following essences like costly rose or elusive vanilla. A few of my
suggested blends (Mossy Glen & Nova Scent/Serenity) are from this book.
Popular Scents for Men: Tests conducted on men’s preference reveal the most
arousing: pumpkin pie & lavender, followed by doughnuts & licorice. Green apple
was relaxing while the most popular single-scent aroma was orange. Men’s
fragrances rely on the earthy qualities of lavender, uplifting citrus fruits & base notes
like bay leaf, sandalwood & vetiver. Other choices: musk, grapefruit, patchouli, vanilla & cinnamon.
Popular Scents for Women: The floral family (rose, gardenia, violet, etc.) is by far the largest & most
popular female scent category. Others include: Fruity, Green, Spicy, Floriental, Oriental, Citrus, Modern,
Chypre (woody, mossy, & flowery complex, often with aspects of leather or fruits) and Ozone-Oceanic.
Fun Ways to Scent Your Life:
 Shelf paper or wallpaper can be scented with a favorite perfume & used to line drawers. Simply spray
your scent on the backside of the paper, let it dry & line your drawers.
 Stationary can bear your signature scent. Sprinkle sachet powder in your stationary box under paper &
envelopes. If you use a fountain pen or pen with a nib, you can scent your ink with a few drops of oil.
 Put cotton balls scented w/a few drops of EO in your dresser drawers (but don’t let it touch clothing).
 When wrapping your next gift, add a spritz of scent or a dot of perfumed oil to the ribbon.
 Spray your bathroom towels with your favorite scent.
 A tissue or paper towel sprayed with the scent & dropped into your trashcan keeps it smelling fresh.
Or, put a few drops of essential oil directly inside the toilet paper roll.

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Essences need to be diluted with a suitable solvent or carrier to make a perfume
usable. Applying undiluted essences (natural or synthetic) will most likely result in
allergic reactions & possibly injury when applied directly to the skin or clothing.
Perfumes can be diluted with a carrier oils such as jojoba, fractionated coconut oil,
and/or wax, but alcohol (ethanol) is the most common solvent. The intensity &
longevity of a perfume is determined by the strength of the concentration as well as
the intensity & longevity of the aromatic essences used to create the perfume. Below
you’ll find perfume types or classifications as well as percentages that typically
makeup the type. The percent of aromatic essences by volume in a perfume is as
follows (* below is Nancy Booth, author of Perfumes, Splashes & Colognes):

 Perfume (Extract): aromatic essences: 15-40% (*Booth: 15-30%) Typical 20%

 Esprit de Parfum: aromatic essences: 15-30%
 Eau de Parfum: aromatic essences: 10-20% (*Booth: 8-15%) Typical 15%
 Lori Recommends: aromatic essences: 10-13% approx. 24 drops in 10 ml of alcohol/oil
 Eau de Toilette: aromatic essences: 5-15% (*Booth: 4-8%) Typical 8-10%
 Eau de Cologne: aromatic essences: 3-8% (*Booth: 2-5%) Typical 5%
 Perfume Mist: aromatic essences: 3-8% typically in a non-alcohol solvent
 Splash/Aftershave: aromatic essences: 1-3%
Source: Wikipedia Perfume Page – An informative page with cool pics - check it out when you have time!

Note: It’s important to understand that what one company calls an Eau de Cologne might be a completely
different concentration than what another company calls an Eau de Cologne. Beyond the difference in
quantity, there may also be different aromatic compounds chosen to create a scent of the same name. For
example, Clinique Happy Eau de Toilette may contain more top notes & less base notes to make it
brighter/fresher than the Clinique Happy Perfume.

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Please visit our links page: for more suppliers, discount codes & affiliate links.
* It helps to support the studio if you go through our page when placing all your orders. *

ALCHEMICAL SOLUTIONS (Oregon) 866-801-1050

Product: 190-proof pharmaceutical-grade certified organic undenatured alcohol (Grape, Sugar Cane, Corn
& Wheat). Minimum 1 Gallon. Mention that you’re a student of The Nova Studio for a 5% discount.


Canadian supplier of many different make-it-yourself products. Great PDF Essential Oils Guide HERE.

ED LUCE PACKAGING (California) 562-802-0515

Packaging Company: small spray bottles, roll-on bottles, sample vials, etc.

SKS-BOTTLE (New York) 518-880-6980

Very large selection of containers, lots of roll-on bottles, tins, etc. In their Product Search area, enter
words like perfume, vials, and tins to see what they have. Also, see section called “Sampling Sizes.”

HOBACARE JOJOBA (Massachusetts) 800-256-5622

High quality, first press unrefined jojoba. Large & small quantities.

MAGESTIC MOUNTAIN SAGE (Utah) 435-755-0863

Perfume test strips, pipettes, containers, essential oils, etc.


NEW DIRECTIONS (NY/Canada) 877-255-7692

LIBERTY NATURAL (Oregon) 800-289-8427

EDEN BOTANICALS (Petaluma, CA) 707-509-0041

PRIMA FLEUR (Novato, CA) 415-455-0957


SIMPLERS BOTANICALS (California) 800-229-2512

NATURES GIFT (Tennessee) 615-612-4270

NANDA OILS (California) 916-747-9315

ELIZABETH VAN BUREN (Santa Cruz, CA) 800-710-7759

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